In today's digital age, managers communicate with their employees through IMs, emails, texts, and calls. However, a one-on-one meeting has always been the best productivity driver in a manager’s toolkit. According to a Harvard study, one-on-one discussions improve team performance by around 89%.
These discussions help you build rapport with direct reports, guide their development, and resolve issues promptly.
To help you run your session smoothly, we have compiled 15 different one-on-one meeting templates that can be tailored for your convenience. Whether it’s first one-on-one or routine check-in, we have you covered!
The one-on-one templates include the critical points of discussion, strategic questions, and action items so that you don’t miss out on anything important and keep your meetings organized.
Let’s take a look at our most popular one-on-one meeting templates.
Pro Tip: We built a meeting management app that helps you create and customize your own meeting agenda templates!
The first few days in a new organization can overwhelm an employee. So, as a manager, you play an essential role in improving the employee’s experience.
The first one-on-one meeting with a new team member provides an opportunity to know each other. It also helps you in setting expectations and goals for the first month.
you’ll want to be sure to cover these topics in the first one-on-one:
Getting to know each other: Learning about the new team member’s interests, hobbies, or other activities enables you to find common interests and motivating factors. This section should show your welcome to the new employee and ease the atmosphere.
Becoming familiar with the new role: This meeting is a chance to acquaint the employee with the other team members and their respective roles.
The first one-on-one with a new employee also provides you an opportunity to know the employee’s expectations for the job. Don’t forget to ask about their feedback preferences, as some employees are uncomfortable with public attention and prefer to be praised or criticized privately.
Knowing all these aspects will set you up for successful and productive interactions in the future.
Career development: It gives insight into the new team member's career aspirations and long-term plans. Although talking about performance can be overwhelming at the very first meeting, it is good to understand their career goals and share your expectation for them. Knowing these aspects will help you develop their talents and ensure that their goals align with the organization.
A skip-level meeting is a conversation between a senior manager and the employee without the presence of the employee’s reporting manager. So, by skipping a level, it enables senior managers to gain an unfiltered access to what is happening in the organization, whether it is good or bad.
Most skip-level meetings take place monthly or quarterly for 45 minutes to an hour. Use this agenda to facilitate your conversations.
Check-in: Gauge employee happiness and work status of the employee by asking casual questions about how they feel and what keeps them motivated. You can share what you did last week or pick a random icebreaker question.
About the company: Discussing the growth and development of the organization with the employee is crucial to boost employee morale and improve the organization.
Feedback: The skip-level meeting is an excellent avenue for getting feedback and insights from the employee. It helps managers and their teams to improve.
Employee growth: This section provides insight into employees’ career progression and professional goals. It also helps understand the roadblocks that prevent better performance.
Weekly check-in meeting between the manager and their direct report is a great way to provide feedback, keep each other in the loop, and collaborate to find practical solutions. It lays the foundation for effective communication and helps build trust in the relationship.
Your agenda is like to be shorter than that for monthly meetings as you sync more often. Here are some key pointers to include in a weekly one-on-one:
Check-in questions: It is fun to throw in a personal question that has nothing to do with work to kickstart the meeting. The idea is to build a friendly rapport with your direct reports and make them comfortable discussing their work and concerns.
Follow-ups on last week: In this section, the employee updates the progress of the tasks. It is also time to delve deeper into the tasks' learnings and outcomes.
Roadblocks: These meetings are avenues to discuss the employees' problems. As a manager, you should listen carefully to employees' challenges and concerns and collaborate to develop effective solutions.
Priorities for the coming week: Ask the employee to come prepared with a list of the tasks for the coming week. Discussing these priorities and providing any help they require is good.
If you prefer something less frequent while making the best use of time, bi-weekly one-on-ones strike the right balance. These meetings allow you to stay abreast with the latest developments and ensure that the team goals are being met. They also help you stay on top of employee productivity.
Here are a few pointers that are a part of the bi-weekly meeting template:
Break the ice: Start with a light topic to create a relaxed environment that facilitates the employee's sharing of ideas and participation.
Updates: Discuss the latest project developments and what’s the progress towards our goals.
Challenges: Know if the employee has any questions or concerns regarding work. Also, discuss how the issues can be resolved effectively.
Feedback: According to a study, 63% of employees who are appreciated at work decide to stay in the company longer. So, it is crucial to recognize the employee’s efforts. Also, discuss the areas of improvement.
Priorities for the coming weeks: Discuss what the employee intends to work on in the coming weeks and if they need assistance to accomplish their weekly goals.
Depending upon the size of the team and the experience of your team member, you might want to have monthly one-on-ones rather than weekly. In that case, you should communicate regularly with the team members through email and other channels at work, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.
Monthly one-on-ones need a thorough agenda and are not just limited to status updates. Instead, you should make the most of this dedicated time by discussing important highlights, monthly goals, and challenges. Here are pointers to include in your monthly one-on-one meeting template:
Monthly highlights: It is good to begin the meeting with casual rapport-building questions or an informal chat.
Next, you should ask the employee to describe the things that went well during the month. It will promote interesting conversations regarding the employee’s strengths, help them stay updated on their contributions, and recognize their efforts.
Goals and progress: Encourage the employee to share how they are meeting their monthly goals and provide updates regarding the projects they are currently working on. Inquire about their learnings from the project so you know how to coach them and promote a growth mindset.
Roadblocks: Ask your direct report about what frustrated them or hindered their progress last month. It will help you understand the roadblocks and organizational issues and therefore try to think of a solution.
Open evaluation and feedback: One-on-one meetings are a great venue to ask for feedback regarding the team, the organization, and even your style of management. Also, you can provide constructive feedback regarding your direct report’s work.
A quarterly performance review meeting involves the evaluation of an employee’s performance over the past quarter. It provides a consistent opportunity for your direct report to improve their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
This quarterly performance review template covers employee performance assessment and growth opportunities to prompt a well-rounded discussion.
Overall assessment: You should start with 360-degree feedback from your direct report’s peers and ask the employee to come prepared with their self-assessment. It fosters a conversation rather than a one-way presentation of the manager’s assessment.
So, ask the employee how they think they are performing and discuss feedback from their peers and seniors.
Performance against goals: Review the performance in accordance with the goals set forth for the quarter. It allows objective feedback as you are not simply evaluating the performance based on opinion but on goals they were expected to meet. It also helps to make the feedback process less personal and relatively easier to handle.
Areas for growth: It is important to provide constructive feedback on the areas of improvement as it is crucial for employee growth. Also, ask them what they could have done better over the last quarter.
Future goals and expectations: A significant part of the conversation should focus on future expectations, as employees have the power to change what happens in the next quarter. It is good to introspect about the past, but you should also spend time setting future goals.
Although micromanaging is not good, you should actively mentor your direct reports. Coaching allows you to know their problems and collaborate to find practical solutions. Also, one-on-one coaching meeting helps you check in with your team members and motivate them, and build stronger relationships.
These coaching sessions should be monthly; each can last 45 minutes to an hour to focus on employee development.
Airgram’s one-on-one coaching template gives you the necessary pointers that help you make the most of the meeting:
Ice-breaker: Start the meeting with a casual conversation. Ask your direct reports how they feel about work and what is going well for them.
Goals: Ask if they have clear and attainable career aspirations at the time so you know how to coach them. Get an insight into their skills in the current role and the people they enjoy working with.
Improvements: Discuss the employee’s improvements and if they are moving closer to their goals. Talk about what areas they can put in more effort.
Challenges: Keep yourself updated on the challenges they are facing in the current project. Understand what frustrates them and the different roadblocks they have encountered. Inquire about how the employee can navigate these problems and tell them how you can help.
Feedback: Ask the employee about how often they would like to receive feedback and if they have any suggestions for improvement.
A one-on-one compensation review meeting determines the raise an employee will be offered according to their performance. Although this review does not make an employee eligible for promotion, it does help make the compensation process transparent.
Ensure that you mention the instances where the employee has performed above expectations. It will keep them motivated.
Here are 4 essential points to include in the (annual) compensation discussion template to help you have a smooth conversation:
Recap of company compensation philosophy: Make the employee aware of the compensation policies of your organization. Include details such as the components that affect an employee’s compensation and how the bonus is calculated.
Updated compensation: Let the employee know the raise that they are eligible for and the effective date. To avoid confusion, provide them with more details about their review and eligibility.
Feeling about the update: Compensation discussions can be great, but the employees may also get disappointed if the raise does not meet their expectations. So, ask the employee what they think about the updated compensation to address their concerns.
Any questions: Ensure that you answer all their questions so that they have clarity on how different aspects of their performance affect the compensation structure.
Managing remote employees can sometimes be more challenging than leading people on-site. It is because people may be located in different geographical areas and time zones, and you also need a proper setup for these meetings. Moreover, it is difficult to express your care and concern about the employee’s feelings in a remote setup.
We have a handy remote one-on-one meeting template that will help you better structure the meeting. Here are the critical pointers covered in this template:
Warm-up: Kickstart the meeting with check-in questions that are simple, relaxed, and fun. These questions help you get into the rhythm of the discussion.
Progress: Ask them what they have been working on since the last meeting and whether they are meeting their goals. Make sure to ask them something they have been proud of and celebrate their wins.
Priority work next: Discuss what needs to be done in the coming week and if they need help accomplishing the tasks.
Challenges: Inquire about their problems, especially regarding communication, as they are working remotely. Address their concerns and the communication gaps that they are encountering.
Open discussions: Set aside some time to discuss anything the employee wants to talk about. For instance, you can talk to them about their non-work highlights during the past week and how they like to spend their free time. It helps in building trust and facilitates stronger relationships.
Many enterprises now use OKR structure to determine measurable goals and track their results.
Having OKR one-on-one meetings with your team members every quarter is crucial to clarify their goals and how they align with the organizational objectives. This OKR goal-setting agenda template gives you a clear idea of what to cover in the meeting.
Past OKR review: Review the last quarter's goals with the employee to understand the successes and learnings. It will motivate the employees and help them know how to meet their goals for the coming quarter better.
Objectives: Discuss at least three goals for the employee to achieve this quarter. Ensure that you have SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Key Results: These are the outcomes that the employee is expected to achieve for each objective. For instance, if the employee is a customer service representative, the outcome could be improving the customer satisfaction score by 20%.
Resources: Lastly, the manager should ask how they can help employees achieve these goals. Whether it is scheduling additional training or providing any other tools or software, the employee should have all the necessary resources at their disposal to achieve the outcomes.
A one-on-one peer meeting takes place between co-workers at the same level. These meetings aim to connect with your peers and understand how they work.
Not only do these meetings facilitate cross-functional communication, but they also are instrumental in getting feedback about your team from other departments.
Including these three topics in the agenda can help make your peer one-on-one meeting successful.
Team sync: Keep your coworker updated on the projects your team is working on that are relevant to them. Also, inform if there are any personnel changes in your team that the other person should know about.
Teamwork challenges: Discuss the problems that may otherwise get neglected because of the lack of time. Talk about the different issues affecting teamwork in a casual manner. Remember that you may not be able to fix all the problems, but little improvements can go a long way in facilitating collaboration amongst the teams.
Feedback: Share your thoughts on how the communication between your teams can be improved and provide ideas for better collaboration.
The end of the year is the best time to reflect on the successes and learnings with your direct report. It allows you to acknowledge their achievements and the fact that you have come so far together.
Also, a successful annual review meeting helps identify the growth opportunities for your direct report that align with their career path. However, it is also crucial to note that it is not a performance review meeting but a catch-up on the past year and a discussion on the priorities and organizational goals for the coming year.
This one-on-one meeting agenda template will set the stage for great conversations and make the annual review easier.
Catching up: Kickstart the meeting with some open-ended questions like “what’s your plan for the upcoming vacation”. Also, inquire if they have anything important to discuss aside from the meeting agenda.
Reflections on the past year: Review this year together and focus on what you have achieved individually and as a team. Also, discuss how things could have been done differently and the learnings from all the projects this year.
Looking ahead: Although it is essential to talk about the past, you should also focus on future tasks and goals. Discuss the employee’s aspirations and goals in the coming year and the organizational goals.
Feedback: Ask your direct report about the areas of improvement for you as a manager. Inquire about how you can assist them better.
Scheduling career development meetings regularly ensures that employees are motivated and engaged with the organization. Career development discussions involve discussing an employee’s role in the organization, where they aspire to achieve, and how the company can help them.
These meetings help you develop and retain talent by providing an opportunity to invest in your direct report’s career goals and aspirations.
Include the following four items in the agenda template to have a practical career development discussion.
Introspection: Make an attempt to understand your direct report’s motivations and the values that drive them. Also, what, according to them, are their strengths and weaknesses.
Career goals: Inquire about their short-term and long-term career aspirations. Ask them to list some of their dreams for the future.
Competency gap: Understand the skills needed for accomplishing their career goals. Identify the need for training to empower employees with the right tools and techniques to achieve their aspirations.
Also, inquire about the roadblocks they are facing as they try to achieve their dreams and how you can assist them.
Career action plan: After the discussion, it is time to build a concrete action plan that lists how they can achieve their goals. Ask them how they can prioritize their training and discuss the opportunities at work that will help them hone their skills.
Offboarding is the process of separation between the employee and the organization. Unlike what many people think, offboarding is as vital as the onboarding process because it helps you understand why people are leaving and what the organization needs to do to retain people.
A successful employee offboarding one-on-one meeting aims at making offboarding a pleasant experience and getting feedback that will make the company a better place to work.
Here are some key pointers in the template that will help you make the most of this powerful tool.
Job circumstances: Gain insight into employees' thoughts about the current role and this organization’s working environment.
Knowledge transfer: To keep the momentum going, it is essential to ensure that the knowledge about the role, responsibilities, and pending tasks has been transferred to the right people. Knowledge transfer ensures that the project runs smoothly and the work is not halted in your absence.
Feedback: Your employee’s feedback is crucial to make the company a better workplace. Brace yourself up for any negative feedback that comes your way because the primary reason for having an exit interview is to know how the organization can enhance the employee’s experience.
Sales one-on-one meetings are crucial in building rapport between sales representatives and their managers. They provide opportunities for discussing growth and improvement. Through these meetings, the managers get to understand what is working for their direct report and what isn’t.
It is good to schedule these discussions on a fixed basis, whether weekly or biweekly, as it creates a routine.
Follow these steps that are included in the sales one-on-one meeting template:
Sales metrics: Discuss the critical sale metrics that are data points to gauge the sales performance of your direct report. For instance, some vital sales metrics are the revenue generated from sales and the number of new customers acquired during the previous week.
Pipeline review: Inquire about the new deals in the pipeline and how the sales process is working out for them.
Problems: Identify the obstacles standing in the way of the deals and help them develop effective solutions. For instance, improving some processes or providing newer tools to the reps can work wonders.
Strategy and solutions: Discuss the techniques employees can adopt to close the deals.
On many occasions, the one-on-one meetings are reduced to mere status updates mainly because managers and their direct reports struggle with the type of questions to ask in these meetings. Here are a few questions to help you make the most of your one-on-one meeting.
What keeps you motivated personally and professionally?
What have been the highlights from the previous week?
What, according to you, is a perfect and productive work day?
How can I help you improve your performance?
What is the one thing that can be done to improve the team’s performance?
What is your outlook on the coming week, and what are your priorities?
What is the one thing you want me to do differently?
How are you progressing on your career goals?
Are there any roles and responsibilities that you would like me to clarify?
Are you getting enough feedback on your work?
How can I progress my career in the organization?
What skill do you think will help me perform better at my job?
Can you suggest some books or courses that can help me improve?
When is the best time for me to approach you regarding feedback?
What soft skills do you think I possess, and what are the ones I need to work on?
Can you recommend people I can shadow at work to improve my skills?
How can I help the team achieve its goals?
How often should I keep you updated on the progress of the project?
Can you recommend ways in which I can connect with the team better?
Can I get in touch with you if I need guidance or support?
Are you looking forward to incorporating some more questions for your routine one-on-ones? Check out our detailed list of excellent one-on-one questions to include in your next discussion.
You should send the invitation for the meeting in advance so that the employee is prepared for the discussion. The invitation should include the purpose of the meeting and the expectation from the employee.
You can use the following template to schedule routine one-on-one meetings:
Subject: Regarding One-on-One Meeting with (The Direct Report’s Name)
Hi (The Direct Report’s Name),
I want to set up a regular meeting with you every (week, month, etc.). You can take this opportunity to bring up any questions or concerns and exchange feedback.
You can also share your career development plans and other things on top of your mind.
I am sharing the agenda, and it would be great if you update it at least a day before the meeting. Here is the link to my calendar; please feel free to block the time that you find suitable.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
I am looking forward to speaking with you.
Often one-on-one meetings with your direct reports feel rushed and disorganized. It is crucial to check in regularly with every employee to make the most of these meetings.
Use our tried and tested templates to make your one-on-ones more collaborative and productive.
Michael started his career as a product manager and then developed a passion for writing. He has been writing on technology, remote working, productivity, etc., hoping to share his thoughts with more people.